Dogs, Like people, are living longer and also like people there is a desire to ensure that that longer life is active and comfortable. 80% of dogs over the age of 8 years are thought to have some degree of arthritis in one or more joint. Arthritis begins when a joint gets damaged and is characterised by pain and stiffness. The discomfort can be ongoing with occasional flare ups and with a tendency to generally get worse over time. There is no cure for arthritis so managing it is key and a multi-modal approach is now recognised as the best way to do this. This means looking at reducing pain, feeding an appropriate diet, managing the environment, keeping joints mobile and maintaining a consistent exercise plan.
It is up to us as owners to recognise when our dogs need support and to access that support earlier rather than later. When pain is ongoing the brain begins to react differently and it can take longer to get that pain under control. So early intervention is key.There are a number of anti-inflammatory drugs now which, together with other medication and/or supplements, can help your dog experience life with minimal pain levels. Getting pain under control is the first consideration for any dog with arthritis, but recognising when your dog is in pain is also key. Dogs rarely vocalise pain or go off their food. Instead they show other behavioural changes.
For more information see my previous post “How do you know if your dog is in pain?” If you recognise any of the signs in your dog I suggest you discuss them with your vet. To find out how massage could help call me on 07761 826736 for a chat.